Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Posts Tagged ‘Boonville’

Organic Money

In Guest Posts on September 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Recently I was invited to a most unusual gathering. The event was not officially called a “Conference On Advanced Economic Trends” but if it had been held at a university, it would surely have been given a high-sounding name like that. Instead it was held on a working farm and was called “Our Garlic Festival.”

The farm is Jandy’s, after its owners, Andy Reinhart and Jan Dawson. They make their living growing and selling vegetables from less than two acres of their little farm, mostly at the farmer’s market in nearby Bellefountaine, Ohio. Locally Jan and Andy are revered organic garden farmers. One look at their crops will tell anyone who knows anything about organic gardening just how remarkably skilled they are at their craft. Sometimes a head of their bibb lettuce barely fits into a bushel basket. They don’t need to have organic certification. Their customers know that if Jan and Andy say its organic, rest assured that it is organic. They don’t sell commodities; they sell the fruit of their dedicated way of life, drops of their sweat and blood.

Keep reading at OrganicToBe

Journalism Is Killing America

In Around the web on September 13, 2009 at 6:55 pm

From emptywheel

Five years ago, the traditional media helped Bush pitch a war that got 4,337 service men and women killed in Iraq (to say nothing of the thousands and thousands of Iraqis killed).

Now, traditional media journalism is back to killing Americans, in this case by deliberately misrepresenting public views on health care reform. EJ Dionne describes how at least one network refused to cover civil, informative town halls.

But what if our media-created impression of the meetings is wrong? What if the highly publicized screamers represented only a fraction of public opinion? What if most of the town halls were populated by citizens who respectfully but firmly expressed a mixture of support, concern and doubt?

There is an overwhelming case that the electronic media went out of their way to cover the noise and ignored the calmer (and from television’s point of view “boring”) encounters between elected representatives and their constituents.

Over the past week, I’ve spoken with Democratic House members, most from highly contested districts, about what happened in their town halls. None would deny polls showing that the health-reform cause lost ground last month, but little of the probing civility that characterized so many of their forums was ever seen on television. Keep reading→

Ukiah Mendocino: Who’s Polluting Our Local Water?

In Around Mendo Island on September 13, 2009 at 8:40 am


Across the nation, the system that Congress created to protect the nation’s waters under the Clean Water Act of 1972 today often fails to prevent pollution. The New York Times has compiled data on more than 200,000 facilities that have permits to discharge pollutants and collected responses from states regarding compliance. Information about facilities contained in this database comes from two sources: the Environmental Protection Agency and the California State Water Resources Control Board. The database does not contain information submitted by the states.

Go to 95482 map and list here

Go to story Toxic Waters at NYT here

Ukiah Mendocino: Slave Wage Mall Jobs Get DDR CEO His Castle

In Vote No on Measure A on September 11, 2009 at 8:58 am

From Cleveland Magazine (August 2008)
A Tour of DDR CEO Scott Wolstein’s Castle RAVENCREST

[There's an old Ry Cooder song "The Very Thing That Makes You Rich Makes Me Poor." As Chinese slave-wage  sweatshop labor turns out more cheap crap for our storage lockers and landfill, Mendocino County is being offered 700 slave-wage, soul-killing dumb jobs here at home to dispose of it all from our very own Monster Mall, while they keep the high-paying smart jobs in Ohio. Meanwhile, the recently-resigned Monster Mall CEO enjoys this 36,000-square-feet castle. Before the hoardes of Ohio homeless and unemployed start coming over the hill for food and shelter, he best get the servants out digging the moat. Let's take a tour, shall we? -DS]

When it’s time to get cleaned up, he hops in an 11-foot-long, custom-tiled porcelain shower. Afterward, he’ll relax and catch a show or two on the plasma TV that hangs just in front of the plush cushions he rests on.

Only we’re not referring to the man of the house. We’re talking about his dog.

What makes Wolstein’s house so special isn’t any one thing. It’s that it has everything: an infinity pool, indoor basketball court, indoor climbing wall, indoor pool with grotto-style hot tub, steam room, sauna and massage room.

Keep reading→

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

In Around the web on September 10, 2009 at 9:35 pm

New York Times

TO listen to President Obama’s speech on Wednesday night, or to just about anyone else in the health care debate, you would think that the biggest problem with health care in America is the system itself — perverse incentives, inefficiencies, unnecessary tests and procedures, lack of competition, and greed.

No one disputes that the $2.3 trillion we devote to the health care industry is often spent unwisely, but the fact that the United States spends twice as much per person as most European countries on health care can be substantially explained, as a study released last month says, by our being fatter. Even the most efficient health care system that the administration could hope to devise would still confront a rising tide of chronic disease linked to diet.

That’s why our success in bringing health care costs under control ultimately depends on whether Washington can summon the political will to take on and reform a second, even more powerful industry: the food industry.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-quarters of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many, if not most, of them are.

We’re spending $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more to treat cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet. One recent study estimated that 30 percent of the increase in health care spending over the past 20 years could be attributed to the soaring rate of obesity, a condition that now accounts for nearly a tenth of all spending on health care.
Go to article at NYT
Thanks to Janie Sheppard and Evan Johnson

Biological Agriculture’s First Rule

In Books on September 10, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Harborside, Maine
Excerpted from The Winter Harvest Handbook (2009)

Once you become determined to eliminate the cause of insects and disease rather than just mask the symptoms, a whole new world opens up. A plant bothered by pest or disease need no longer be seen in the negative. The plant can now be looked upon as your coworker. It is communicating with you. It is saying that conditions are not conducive to its optimum growth and that if the plants are to be healthier next year, the soil must be improved.

But to succeed at that you have to accept what I call the first rule of biological agriculture–”Nature makes sense.” If something is not working, it is the farmer’s, not Nature’s, fault. The farmer has made the mistake. You have to have faith in the rational design of the natural world, and thus have an expectation of success, if you hope to understand the potential for succeeding. To do so, it helps to restate Darwin more correctly as “the un-survival of the unfit.”

Learn by Observing

Take your lawn as an example. Say you have a lawn that is growing mostly crab grass, sorrel, dandelions, and other weeds but none of the finer grasses that you would prefer. There are two courses of action. For one you could purchase all the heavily advertised nostrums, herbicides, fertilizers, and stimulants to suppress the weed competition so the finer grasses would be able to struggle ahead. Conversely, you could study the optimum growing conditions for the grasses you want and then by adding compost, rock powders, peat moss, manure, aerating, draining, or whatever seemed indicated, you could try to create the soil conditions under which the finer grasses thrive. If you doubt this approach, look closely at wild vegetation on undisturbed land. Keep reading→

People Are Finally Talking About Food, and You Can Thank Wendell Berry for That

In Around the web, Books on September 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

The Nation and Alternet

This article is adapted from Michael Pollan’s introduction to Bringing It to the Table, a collection of Wendell Berry’s writings out this fall from Counterpoint.

Wendell Berry’s now-famous formulation, “eating is an agricultural act” — is perhaps his signal contribution to the rethinking of food and farming under way today.

A few days after Michelle Obama broke ground on an organic vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House in March, the business section of the Sunday New York Times published a cover story bearing the headline Is a Food Revolution Now in Season? The article, written by the paper’s agriculture reporter, said that “after being largely ignored for years by Washington, advocates of organic and locally grown food have found a receptive ear in the White House.”

Certainly these are heady days for people who have been working to reform the way Americans grow food and feed themselves — the “food movement,” as it is now often called. Markets for alternative kinds of food — local and organic and pastured — are thriving, farmers’ markets are popping up like mushrooms and for the first time in many years the number of farms tallied in the Department of Agriculture’s census has gone up rather than down. The new secretary of agriculture has dedicated his department to “sustainability” and holds meetings with the sorts of farmers and activists who not many years ago stood outside the limestone walls of the USDA holding signs of protest and snarling traffic with their tractors.

Cheap words, you might say; and it is true that, so far at least, there have been more words than deeds — but some of those words are astonishing. Like these: shortly before his election, Barack Obama told a reporter for Time that “our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil”… Complete article at AlterNet

Community Building in a World of Shrinking Energy Resources

In Around the web on September 10, 2009 at 6:59 am

Mendocino County

Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better … and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed – the ecological, social, demographic, or general breakdown of civilization – will be unavoidable.
–Václav Havel, then president of Czechoslovakia, in a speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, February, 1990

The American political establishment and press were ecstatic that playwright Havel, the president of a recently communist country, should come the U.S. and praise freedom. But, they entirely overlooked what he was saying.

Earlier in the century, phenomenologist philosopher Edmund Husserl was contending that theoretical knowledge had lost contact with living human experience. In 1936, Husserl wrote a powerful treatise on the subject, “The Crisis of European Sciences” (in German), in which he asserted that the morally ordered world of our prereflective lived experience is inseparable from Nature, what he described as the common life-world. Lebenswelt. Havel wrote that Husserl’s understanding of “the natural world” and “the world of lived experience” are reliable vectors through which to approach “the spiritual framework of modern civilization and the source of the present crisis.” He identified children, working people, and peasants as “far more rooted in what some philosophers call the natural world… than most modern adults.” “They have not grown alienated from the world of their actual personal experience,” he wrote, “the world which has its morning and its evening, its down (the earth) and its up (the heavens), where the sun rises daily in the east, traverses the sky and sets in the west …” Keep reading→

Ukiah Mendocino: No on Measure A – Letter from Laytonville

In Vote No on Measure A on September 10, 2009 at 5:19 am


[Hey DDR Slicksters! C'mon down from your castles and let's get on with the debates! -DS]

To the Editor:
Ukiah Daily Journal

I recently received the Mendocino County Tomorrow (MCT) Open Letter (vote ‘yes’ on measure A) from Danny Rosales concerning the DDR vs. Mendocino County debacle (depending on which side of the issue it’s viewed from).

Mr. Rosales starts with the standard bag of worries by appealing to everyone’s fears about everything as a way of gaining a foothold in his argument. After almost a decade of that tactic, I grow weary of listening to that as the basis for discussion. Sure we are in hard economic times, but are Americans so afraid of challenges that we are willing place all our eggs in yet another big business basket? I hope that is not an accurate depiction of our society now.

Mr. Rosales states that the MCT vision statement “…is to promote responsible community growth…” How responsible is it to promote importing more millions of metric cubic tons of, essentially, garbage consumables from China and elsewhere? Aren’t our dumps full enough? Aren’t our storage units jammed full? Mr. Rosales goes on to parrot words like “sustainable.” Yeah, sustaining DDR and Big Box stores.

If DDR considers dealing with our county “…more difficult than climbing Mount Everest…”, then I don’t think much of DDR’s hand wringing and incapable staff. Could they even manage the whole thing well from here forward? DDR is the one with the big bucks to bash their way through any obstacle so why the whining? Keep reading→

Ukiah Mendocino: Is The Swine Flu Pandemic A Hoax?

In James Houle on September 9, 2009 at 7:11 am

Redwood Valley

The H1N1 pandemic seems to have taken on a life of its own – while the actual evidence of a serious and life-threatening epidemic has not supported the hysteria we hear in the main stream media. The news media and the World Health Organization have continued to pump out stories suggesting that we are just a few months away from Armageddon – and the mass inoculation of just about everyone with a still-untested vaccine is the only solution. Mark Horton, director of the California Dept. of Public Health announced that “millions of Californians, possibly one in four, may be affected by the coming H1V1 ‘swine flu’ virus”. Dr. Marvin Trotter, Mendocino County’s public heath officer “fears ‘a perfect storm’ scenario could lead to the rapid and potentially deadly spread of what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) calls a ‘novel virus’. Ukiah Daily Journal 8-30-09. The virus seems to particularly attack the lung tissue and this can lead to viral pneumonia. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology warned that “swine flu poses a serious threat: half the population could come down with the strain and 90,000 could die this season.” US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius warns that “this is not the flu we’re used to”. As if to speed up their production, Sibelius has signed a document specifically granting pharmaceutical manufacturers immunity from prosecution for death or injury from the vaccine.


Yet, the evidence collected to date seems to suggest that H1N1 is a relatively mild flu, similar to the common influenza we have dealt with for decades and is in fact practically indistinguishable from it. Keep reading→

Side With the Living – Derrick Jensen

In Around the web on September 8, 2009 at 7:34 pm

From Derrick Jensen
Orion Magazine

A note to those who would demonize nature

The other night I saw a commercial for a PBS program that breathlessly described how orcas “dominate” the oceans. And the nature program I had the misfortune to see before that talked of different species of bears “conquering” each other’s territories. The program repeatedly emphasized the powerful bite of one particular type of bear—making sure we got the point by always playing scary music when these bears were depicted—and only late in the program did viewers learn that these bears were exclusively scavengers, with powerful jaws not so they could “conquer” and “dominate,” but so they could break the bones of those already dead. This projection onto the natural world of this culture’s urge to dominate is so ubiquitous as to be at this point almost invisible to us, like air. And obviously, how we perceive the natural world affects how we behave toward it: if we perceive it as full of domination, we are more likely to attempt to dominate it.

Not infrequently, people will use the mass extinctions of the past to rationalize their efforts to dominate (read: destroy) the world at hand. For example, I recently read an essay by the influential scientific philosopher Sam Harris titled “Mother Nature Is Not Our Friend.” It begins, “Like many people, I once trusted in the wisdom of Nature. . . . I now believe that this romantic view of Nature is a stultifying and dangerous mythology. Every 100 million years or so, an asteroid or comet the size of a mountain smashes into the earth, killing nearly everything that lives. If ever we needed proof of Nature’s indifference to the welfare of complex organisms such as ourselves, there it is.” Never mind that only one of the major mass extinctions was probably caused by an asteroid. But the real point is that the moral I derive from mass extinctions is precisely the opposite of the moral Harris projects onto them.

Go to complete article here

Ukiah Mendocino: Hey Monster Mall Folks – Lighten Up! (Video and Free Concert Announcement)

In Vote No on Measure A on September 7, 2009 at 8:47 pm


Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ~Willam James

DDR generously, but erroneously, attributes to my organizing skills the sing-a-long at their recent “town hall” in Redwood Valley. Kudos should be directed to The Bronnettes for their clever lyrics and singing! The subject of the meeting was Measure A, the initiative to put a monster mall on the old Masonite site. Watch the YouTube video of the sing-a-long portion of the meeting below.

In the video, DDR accuses The Bronnettes of disrupting the meeting.   But if you look at the video, it’s plain to see that the meeting hadn’t begun; the room is nearly empty.  The sing-a-long was simply a bit of pre-meeting entertainment.   Hardly what I’d call “disruption.”

Why do so many oppose Measure A? If passed, Measure A would:  (1) Allow an Ohio corporation to bypass local planning regulations that the rest of us have to follow; (2) Avoid review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); (3) Replace jobs at existing local businesses with minimum wage jobs at the monster mall; (4) Create traffic nightmares; (5) Create polluting runoff from a huge parking lot; (6) Use lots of scarce water; and (7) Divert shopping dollars from downtowns across the county to big corporations that have no stake in Mendocino County.

Go to Sing-Along Video and Free SOLE Concert announcement→

Giant Hoax By Monsanto Continues – Genetically Modified Seeds Do Not Produce Higher Yields

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web, Industrial Agriculture on September 7, 2009 at 8:46 pm

From Union of Concerned Scientists

[As many of us have been saying for years, the only thing Monsanto has accomplished by genetically modifying seeds to withstand their poisons, is to increase the sales of those poisons, blanketing the earth and our bodies with their nasty, cancer-causing chemicals for profit. Their blatant bullshit about increasing higher yields is a con-job to force farmers to buy their seeds every year. Their executives and "scientists" should be pilloried in public humiliation in their own town's public squares and tried for crimes against humanity. Mendocino County was first to ban their plants from our county. We will feed the world with small, local, organic farms. Thanks to Janie for link. -DS]

Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops (Union of Concerned Scientists)

For years the biotechnology industry has trumpeted that it will feed the world, promising that its genetically engineered crops will produce higher yields. That promise has proven to be empty, according to Failure to Yield, a report by UCS expert Doug Gurian-Sherman released in March 2009.

Despite 20 years of research and 13 years of commercialization, genetic engineering has failed to significantly increase U.S. crop yields. Failure to Yield is the first report to closely evaluate the overall effect genetic engineering has had on crop yields in relation to other agricultural technologies. It reviewed two dozen academic studies of corn and soybeans, the two primary genetically engineered food and feed crops grown in the United States. Keep reading→

How American Health Care Killed My Father

In Around the web on September 7, 2009 at 8:45 pm

From David Goldhill

[A devastating indictment of our current medical system. My own father also died needlessly within a couple of days of hospitalization for a cracked hip. -DS]

After the needless death of his father, the author, a business executive, began a personal exploration of a health-care industry that for years has delivered poor service and irregular quality at astonishingly high cost. It is a system, he argues, that is not worth preserving in anything like its current form. And the health-care reform now being contemplated will not fix it. Here’s a radical solution to an agonizing problem.

Amost two years ago, my father was killed by a hospital-borne infection in the intensive-care unit of a well-regarded nonprofit hospital in New York City. Dad had just turned 83, and he had a variety of the ailments common to men of his age. But he was still working on the day he walked into the hospital with pneumonia. Within 36 hours, he had developed sepsis. Over the next five weeks in the ICU, a wave of secondary infections, also acquired in the hospital, overwhelmed his defenses. My dad became a statistic—merely one of the roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals. One hundred thousand deaths: more than double the number of people killed in car crashes, five times the number killed in homicides, 20 times the total number of our armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another victim in a building American tragedy.

About a week after my father’s death, The New Yorker ran an article by Atul Gawande profiling the efforts of Dr. Peter Pronovost to reduce the incidence of fatal hospital-borne infections. Pronovost’s solution? A simple checklist of ICU protocols governing physician hand-washing and other basic sterilization procedures. Hospitals implementing Pronovost’s checklist had enjoyed almost instantaneous success…

Go to complete article here

Pfizer Launches ‘Zoloft For Everything’ Ad Campaign

In Around the web on September 4, 2009 at 5:12 am

From your American Medical Industry

September 4, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

NEW YORK–Seeking to broaden the customer base of the popular drug, Pfizer announced the launch of a $40 million “Zoloft For Everything” advertising campaign Monday.

“Zoloft is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, but it would be ridiculous to limit such a multi-functional drug to these few uses,” Pfizer spokesman Jon Pugh said. “We feel doctors need to stop asking their patients if anything is wrong and start asking if anything could be more right.”

Continued Pugh: “How many millions of people out there are suffering under the strain of a deadline at work or pre-date jitters, but don’t realize there’s a drug that could provide relief? Zoloft isn’t just for severe anxiety or depression. Got the Monday blues? Kids driving you nuts? Let Zoloft help. Zoloft.”

Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride) was originally introduced as a means of treating depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In January of this year, however, Pfizer won FDA approval for use of Zoloft to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, as well as social-anxiety disorder, or “social phobia.”

Last week, the FDA okayed Zoloft for treatment of “the entire range of unpleasant or otherwise negative social, physical, and mental feelings that an individual may experience in the course of a human life.”

“At first, Zoloft was only used to treat depression,” Pugh said. “But what is depression, really? Who died and gave doctors the authority to dictate who is and isn’t depressed? One man’s hangnail could be another man’s darkest depths of despair. Isn’t medication a tool to help people lead better, happier lives? Access to drugs should not be restricted to those the medical community officially deems ‘sick.’”

Pfizer president James Vernon said the “Zoloft For Everything” campaign will employ print and TV ads to inform potential users about the “literally thousands” of new applications for Zoloft. Among the conditions the drug can be used to treat: anxiety associated with summer swimsuit season, insecurity over sexual potency and performance, feelings of shame over taking an antidepressant, and a sense of hollowness stemming from losing an online auction.

In today’s fast-paced world, Vernon said, people don’t have time to deal with mood changes.

“Zoloft has always helped clinically depressed people modulate serotonin levels and other chemical imbalances that make life unlivable for them,” Vernon said. “But now, Zoloft can also help anyone who needs their emotions leveled off. Do you find yourself feeling excited or sad? No one should have to suffer through those harrowing peaks and valleys.”

Anita White of Yuma, AZ, sought out Zoloft after seeing one of the new commercials.

Go to article at The Onion

Ukiah: Save Our Local Economy (SOLE) Challenges Measure A Proponents to a Series of Debates

In !ACTION CENTER! on September 3, 2009 at 5:20 pm

From Save Our Local Economy (SOLE)

September 3, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

“Save Our Local Economy- No On A Campaign” challenges the “Yes On A Campaign,” Mendocino County Tomorrow and Jeff Adams of DDR to a series of face-to-face debates throughout Mendocino County over the course of the next month.

When asked to debate the issues nearly a year ago, DDR’s Jeff Adams told Citizen U coordinator Mary Anne Landis that DDR would debate when they DDR had their specific plan prepared.  That plan has been prepared and is now on the November ballot. “I certainly hope that Mr. Adams and Measure A proponents keep their promise. They have said they want to do what’s right for our community and that they believe in the American Democratic process, so let’s hear what they have to say, side by side a community member who disagrees with them.  Now is the time for DDR to show us their concern for our community by participating in public debates.” said Landis.

When asked about the challenge, SOLE spokesperson, Guinness McFadden, said, “The Citizens of Mendocino County have a right to a fair and open debate about the merits of Measure A, not staged and scripted town hall meetings.  Every major election in American history has included debates between the opponents.  Such face to face debates are American institutions generating great citizen interest and revealing the facts and issues to voters before an election.  SOLE is looking forward to an open and public discussion of the issues around the Measure A proposal.”

McFadden added, “There are a number of local organizations who would be happy to host such an event, in fact SOLE would gladly participate at the two events DDR has scheduled during September in Willits and Fort Bragg.”

Do I expect DDR to actually debate the Monster Mall in the best traditions of our democracy? I doubt it. They already refused  to engage in the first debate many months ago, and an empty chair represented them on stage while one of their lawyers in the audience scribbled furiously away on his yellow pad as our guy thoroughly trashed their points, one by one, with documented facts. The local elections that followed doomed their project, so they had to import outsiders to collect signatures under false pretenses to circumvent our local democracy, escape our environmental protections, and steal our water, with Measure A.

They are also trying to avoid our local democratic zoning procedures, so why would they become democratically responsive to our local citizens now? With all the money they are pouring into their carefully contrived, million dollar propaganda campaign, they have much to lose — Keep reading→

Santa Rosa: Big Box Project Killed For Good Reasons

In Around the web on September 3, 2009 at 12:02 am

From The Press Democrat
Excerpts – Full article here

September 3, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

The Santa Rosa City Council voted late Tuesday to stop Lowe’s from building a big-box home improvement store on Santa Rosa Avenue, heeding the concerns of local business leaders who warned the chain store would hurt the community…

Councilmembers also worried that Lowe’s success would come at the expense of local businesses and their employees…

In a community where environmentalists and the business community often have battled over who will sit on the City Council, Tuesday was a rare occasion where the two sides came together to oppose what they saw as a common opponent.

The business leaders opposing Lowe’s included Exchange Bank President William Schrader, Skyhawk Village Market owner Mike Runyon, Clover Stornetta President Marcus Benedetti, Friedman’s Home Improvement President Bill Friedman and La Tortilla Factory co-owner Carlos Tamayo.

Their presence sent a message, as Oliver’s Market General Manager Tom Scott put it, that “we local retailers need to stick together against the big guys.” And they warned that the community would be less well off if Lowe’s were allowed to build here.

“I love the city of Santa Rosa’s campaign of ‘buy local, shop local, eat local,’ said Jody Lau, whose family owns G&G Supermarkets. “Remember that? By allowing this box store to go through, this is not supporting local.”

Tuesday’s hearing was the culmination of a battle over the 11.8-acre plan proposed about a half-mile south of Costco. The dispute has included mass mailings warning residents that the nation’s second-largest home improvement retailer would hurt existing businesses and take away jobs.

Opposition has come not only from some local business people but also from environmental, labor, housing advocacy and social justice groups. They claim the project would harm Friedman’s and other stores, take away jobs, increase traffic congestion and generate tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Neighborhood Stores: An Overlooked Strategy for Fighting Global Warming

From Stacy Mitchell
New Rules Project

Recently that began to change: first a restaurant opened and then a tea shop. And then, in what many of my neighbors greeted as nothing short of a gift from heaven, a small fresh food market opened. Stop by at 6 in the evening and you’ll find a row of bicycles out front and the store’s narrow aisles packed with people pondering their dinner options.

This little store is one of hundreds of new neighborhood businesses that have opened in the last few years in what might be both the beginnings of a revival of small retail and one of the more important strategies we have for countering global warming.

Go to article at New Rules Project

Profiling CEOs and Their Sociopathic Paychecks

In Around the web, Books on September 2, 2009 at 12:06 am

Author Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.

September 2, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the US. Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available.”

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, “What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?”

It’s an interesting question. If there is a “free market” of labor for CEOs, then you’d think there would be a lot of competition for the jobs. And a lot of people competing for the positions would drive down the pay. All UnitedHealth’s stockholders would have to do to avoid paying more than $1 billion to McGuire is find somebody to do the same CEO job for half a billion. And all they’d have to do to save even more is find somebody to do the job for a mere $100 million. Or maybe even somebody who’d work the necessary sixty-hour weeks for only $1 million.

So why is executive pay so high?

I’ve examined this with both my psychotherapist hat on and my amateur economist hat on, and only one rational answer presents itself: CEOs in America make as much money as they do because there really is a shortage of people with their skill set. And it’s such a serious shortage that some companies have to pay as much as $1 million a day to have somebody successfully do the job.

But what part of being a CEO could be so difficult — so impossible for mere mortals — that it would mean that there are only a few hundred individuals in the United States capable of performing it?

In my humble opinion, it’s the sociopath part.

CEOs of community-based businesses are typically responsive to their communities and decent people. But the CEOs of most of the world’s largest corporations daily make decisions that destroy the lives of many other human beings.

Only about 1 to 3 percent of us are sociopaths — people who don’t have normal human feelings and can easily go to sleep at night after having done horrific things. And of that 1 percent of sociopaths, there’s probably only a fraction of a percent with a college education. And of that tiny fraction, there’s an even tinier fraction that understands how business works, particularly within any specific industry.

Thus there is such a shortage of people who can run modern monopolistic, destructive corporations that stockholders have to pay millions to get them to work. And being sociopaths, they gladly take the money without any thought to its social consequences. Keep reading→

One Mendocino County Resident’s View of DDR’s Home

In Guest Posts on September 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm

Mendocino County

September 2, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

I just returned from DDR Country and want to tell you about it. DDR?  That’s Diversified Developers Realty, the multi-multi-bucks corporation that purchased the Masonite Site (just outside the city limits of Ukiah). DDR is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to circumvent our county government’s planning process to change the zoning at the Masonite Site so that they can build a Big Box Store shopping center and thus eliminate the possibility of retaining the industrial nature of the Masonite site. Industry, not retail sales, means better-paying jobs. (Locally-owned industry means that $45 out of every $100 earned goes back to the county!)

The interesting  part of my report is that there are no Big Box stores in the DDR neighborhood. No Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Cosco etc near DDR’s enormous glistening-white buildings, or near the fancy, many-million-dollar homes close by. There are some pretty elegant, well-landscaped, themed, expensive shopping centers that run alongside  a couple of busy corridors in the DDR neighborhood. I also noticed that the elegant shopping centers are full of parked cars. And the homes in the neighborhood do not have many “For Sale” signs and certainly no “Foreclosure” signs on them. These suburban Cleveland folks in the Beachwood/Pepper Pike area do not seem to be experiencing an economic downturn like much of the rest of the country.  Nor do they want the kind of shopping center that DDR is proposing for us, not in THEIR neighborhood. Big Box stores would ruin the rural feeling of the landscape, drastically change the skyline, and  bring down their real estate values.

The other observation I made is that the DDR folks DO know what an inviting, walkable, small town looks like. Scott Wolstein, the CEO of Diversified Developers, may not have seen the inviting tree-lined streets in beautiful downtown Ukiah, but his own 36,000 square foot (!!!) palatial mega-mansion home is located near the quaint little town of Chagrin Falls. Known for its picturesque falls, the area surrounding Chagrin Falls is also famous for its horse stables, polo fields, fox hunts, and large estates. It’s a kind of faux-rural area Keep reading→

President Obama: Healthcare; you promised. – Anne Lamott

In Around the web on September 1, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Marin County

September 1, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

I am afraid there has been a misunderstanding since that election in 2008, during which 66,882,230 Americans cast their votes for you. Perhaps one of your trusted advisors has given you bum information. Maybe they told you that we voted for you — walked, marched, prayed, fund-raised and knocked on doors for you — because we hoped you would try to reunite the country. Of the total votes cast that long-ago November day, I’m guessing that about 1,575 people wanted you to try to reconcile the toxic bipartisanship that culminated in those Sarah Palin rallies.

The other 66,880,655 of us wanted universal healthcare.

You inherited a country that was in the most desperate shape since the Civil War, or the Depression, and we voted for you to heal the catastrophic wounds Bush inflicted on our country and our world. You said that you were up to that challenge.

We did not vote for you to see if you could get Chuck Grassley or Michael Enzi to date you. The spectacle of you wooing them fills us with horror and even disgust. We recoil as from hot flame at each mention of your new friends. Believe me, I know exactly how painful this can be, how reminiscent of 7th-grade yearning to be popular, because I went through it myself this summer. I did not lower my bar quite as low as you have, but I was sitting on the couch one afternoon, thinking that this adorable guy and I were totally on the same sheet of music — he had given me absolutely every indication that we were — and were moving into the kissing stage. Out of nowhere, I thought to ask him if he liked me in the same way I liked him.

He said, in so many words, no.

And Mr. President, that is what the Republicans are saying to you: They are just not that into you, sir.

This may have thrown you for such a loop that you have forgotten why you were elected — which was to lead your people back to the promises of our founding parents. Many of us no longer recognized our country after eight years of Bush and Cheney, and you gave us your word that you would help restore the great headway we had made on matters of race, equality and plain old social justice.

People, get ready, you said; there’s a train a ‘coming. And we did get ready. We hit the streets. We roared, whispered, cried, whooped and went door to door, convinced that even if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had not specifically dreamed of you, his dream of justice and equality and pride might come into being through your vision, your greatness, through the hope that your words gave us, through the change you promised.

Keep reading at LA Times

Lyme/autism group blasts Genetically Modified foods as dangerous

In Around the web on September 1, 2009 at 7:40 am

From Jeffrey Smith
Huffington Post – excerpts

September 1, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

[Certified organic foods are free of GM poison. -DS]

Stop eating dangerous genetically modified (GM) foods! That’s the upshot of the Lyme Induced Autism (LIA) Foundation’s position paper released today.

The patient advocacy group is not willing to wait around until research studies prove that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cause or worsen the many diseases that are on the rise since gene-spliced foods were introduced in 1996. Like the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) earlier this year, the LIA Foundation says there is more than enough evidence of harm in GM animal feeding studies for them to “urge doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets” and for “individuals, especially those with autism, Lyme disease, and associated conditions, to avoid” GM foods…

The five main GM foods are soy, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets. Their derivatives are found in more than 70 percent of the foods in the supermarket. The primary reason the plants are engineered is to allow them to drink poison. They’re inserted with bacterial genes that allow them to survive otherwise deadly doses of poisonous herbicide. Biotech companies sell the seed and herbicide as a package deal. Roundup Ready crops survive sprays of Roundup. Liberty Link crops survive Liberty. US farmers use hundreds of millions of pounds more herbicide because of these herbicide-tolerant crops, and the higher toxic residues end up inside of us. The LIA position paper acknowledges that “Individuals with infections that compromise immunity… and/or high toxin loads may also be especially susceptible to adverse effects from pesticides.”

…The beneficial bacteria living inside our digestive tract is used for digestion and immunity. Excessive herbicide residues on herbicide-tolerant GM crops may kill beneficial gut flora. More importantly, the only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function. This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have dangerous GM proteins continuously produced inside us. Read it and weep. Go to complete article here

Natural Flu Remedies

In Dave Smith on September 1, 2009 at 6:37 am


September 1, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Yes, wash hands frequently, cough into inner elbow, get plenty of exercise, eat organic food, etc.

I haven’t caught the flu for many years. Here’s my natural regimen for the coming flu season…

1. Hydrogen Peroxide: I gargle daily with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide; and if something starts not feeling right, more frequently. My throat is my weak spot because of an illness suffered as a boy. I’ve also heard it can be used in the ears. Google: Hydrogen Peroxide for colds and flu.

2. Vitamin D: Best natural source is, of course, the sun, but flu season is when the sun is not around as much. “Vitamin D… perhaps the single most powerful nutrient in the known universe for preventing influenza.” Arctic Cod Liver Oil. Some sushi now and then at Oco Time; also eating lower on the food chain means less mercury accumulation, though we now know that all fish are contaminated… those boneless sardines at the Co-op are my choice.  Foods highest in Vitamin D here. List of sustainable fish from Seafood Watch is at Monterrey Aquarium here.

3. Green Tea: “One little known secret about preventing the flu is adding green tea to your diet. Research has shown that green tea is extremely effective at preventing the flu, when consumed regularly. One study, reported by the UK Tea Council showed that green tea can protect in two ways. First, green tea suppresses the growth of influenza cells. Secondly, green tea actually kills off the influenza cells. And, one thing that’s so great about green tea – it can protect against many strains of the flu virus. The flu vaccine each year just protects against that year’s most prevalent strain.” Organic, of course. I’m partial to Dragon Well green tea in bulk at the Co-op. No tea ball needed. Put some leaves in a clear cup, pour in the boiling water, watch the leaves dance their way down to the bottom. See story at Diamond Organics.

4. Cut out sugar. “Avoiding sugar is the single most important physical factor that you can address to avoid the flu.” Sugar suppresses the immune system. Google it.

5. Dense Nutrition: For maximum nutrition, Organic Green Smoothies.

Also, you can Google: Homeopathic remedies for the flu (especially Oscillococcinum); and Herbal remedies for the flu.
Green Tea image from Gaia Herbs

Instead of a Monster Mall

In Dave Smith on August 31, 2009 at 9:18 am


August 31, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

To The Editors:

I’m continually baffled by a few of the locals who are promoting the Masonite Monster Mall. When I hear them speak, in one breath they talk about how much they love living in our rural small town, and in their next breath they talk about how great it will be to have a Monster Mall here so they don’t “have to drive to Santa Rosa to shop.”

Yet, they never bridge the gap between what we have, and what we would become. They never say “I’m looking forward to the sprawl and traffic and pollution and sirens and hubbub just like they have in Santa Rosa.” Or, “I want our town to look just like all the other towns and cities south of us. Wouldn’t that be just too cool?”

Instead, I want something else entirely. And Wendell Berry says it better than I can:

“In this difficult time of failed public expectations, when thoughtful people wonder where to look for hope, I keep returning in my own mind to the thought of the renewal of the rural communities. I know that one resurrected rural community would be more convincing and more encouraging than all the government and university programs of the last fifty years, and I think that it could be the beginning of the renewal of our country, for the renewal of rural communities ultimately implies the renewal of urban ones.

“But to be authentic, a true encouragement and a true beginning, this would have to be a resurrection accomplished mainly by the community itself. It would have to be done, not from the outside by the instruction of visiting experts, but from the inside by the ancient rule of neighborliness, by the love of precious things, and by the wish to be at home.

Is it either/or? Yes, I think it is.

Thank you for voting NO ON MEASURE A to preserve our unique, locally-owned businesses, neighborly small town values, and livable human-scale communities.

The Fallacy of Climate Activism

In Around the web, Climate Change Series on August 31, 2009 at 7:14 am

From Adam D. Sacks
Grist Magazine – Excerpts

August 31, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

…the battle against greenhouse-gas emissions, as we have currently framed it, is over.

It is absolutely over and we have lost.

We have to say so…

If we climate activists don’t tell the truth as well as we know it—which we have been loathe to do because we ourselves are frightened to speak the words—the public will not respond, notwithstanding all our protestations of urgency.

And contrary to current mainstream climate-activist opinion, contrary to all the pointless “focus groups,” contrary to the endless speculation on “correct framing,” the only way to tell the truth is to tell it.  All of it, no matter how terrifying it may be…

If we live at all, we will have to figure out how to live locally and sustainably.  Living locally means we are able get everything we need within walking (or animal riding) distance. We may eventually figure out sustainable ways of moving beyond those small circles to bring things home, but our track record isn’t good and we’d better think it through very carefully.

Likewise, any technology has to be locally based, using local resources and accessible tools, renewable and non-toxic.  We have much re-thinking to do, and re-learning from our hunter-gatherer forebears who managed to survive for a couple of hundred thousand years in ways that we with our civilized blinders we can barely imagine or understand.

Living sustainably means, in Derrick Jensen’s elegantly simple definition, that whatever we do, we can do it indefinitely. We cannot use up anything more or faster than nature provides, we don’t poison the air, water, or soil, and we respect the web of life of which we are an intricate part.  We are not separate from nature, or above it, or in any way qualified to supervise it. The evidence is ample and overwhelming; all we have to do is be brave enough to look.

How do we survive in a world that will probably turn—is already turning, for many humans and non-humans alike—into a living hell? How do we even grow or gather food or find clean water or stay warm or cool while assaulted by biblical floods, Keep reading→

Take Action! We Have the Hope. Now Where’s the Audacity?

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island on August 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm

From Peter Dreier and Marshall Ganz
Common Dreams

August 31, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

On Aug. 25 last year, Sen. Edward Kennedy strode onto the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Denver and announced to a roaring crowd of party faithful the beginning of a new generation in American politics.”I have come here tonight to stand with you, to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States,” he said. Comparing Obama to his slain brother, John F. Kennedy, the senator shouted: “This November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. . . . Our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.”

Eight months into the Obama administration, as we mourn the senator from Massachusetts, many of us retain the hope, but we are wondering what happened to the audacity that is needed to move the country in a new direction. In recent weeks, many progressives have expressed concern that Obama’s bold plan to reform health care may be at risk. A defeat on this key issue could undermine other elements of his agenda. We don’t believe that the president has changed his goals, but we wonder whether he underestimated the power necessary to bring about real change.

Throughout the campaign, Obama cautioned that enacting his ambitious plans would take a fight. In a speech in Milwaukee, he said: “I know how hard it will be to bring about change. Exxon Mobil made $11 billion this past quarter. They don’t want to give up their profits easily.”

He explained what it would take to overcome the power of entrenched interests in order to pass historic legislation. Change comes about, candidate Obama said, by “imagining, and then fighting for, and then working for, Keep reading→

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (Part 3)

In Around the web on August 28, 2009 at 8:26 am

Mendocino County

Parts |1|2|3|

August 28, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

In the East, Gandhi was assassinated, as was his dream for India. Vandana Shiva has described so poignantly what is happening there at this moment, but not just there. I don’t believe that we have any hope in reversing this in our own present governmental context. Is it not evident that we need a revolution. But, how so? As Thoreau finished his essay, “All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. … All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil. … But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.” I urge you to read “slaves” as “illegal immigrants, many working for slave wages”. Who but Thoreau can say it better? Thoreau scared people – and still does.

Those in power in this country and increasingly in the world have no respect for hard physical labor; accordingly, following our leaders, neither do Americans at large. So, we depend upon the mostly illegal Latinos to do the physical work to feed us. A distant acquaintance from this group, who has lived here many years, has a fine family, and has a responsible job running field machinery for a farmer that is a far distant giant global corporation, had to return south because of this mother’s illness. Keep reading→

The Economics of Organic Food

In Around the web, Organic Food & Recipes on August 28, 2009 at 8:08 am

From Avery Yale Kamila
Portland Press Herald (Maine)
Via Organic Consumers Association

August 28, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Only rich people can afford to eat locally grown, organic food. Have you heard that one before? I have, and it’s sure to come up during the “Can Maine Feed Itself?” keynote discussion taking place at next month’s Maine Fare festival in the midcoast.

The panel brings together a number of movers and shakers from Maine’s food scene for a conversation centered on how the state can become more self-reliant when stocking our grocery stores and filling our dinner plates.According to well-known organic Maine farmer and author Eliot Coleman, who farms year-round in unheated greenhouses and will participate in the panel, the No. 1 barrier preventing more Mainers from eating food grown and raised locally is the competition from cheap eats trucked in from California.

A whole book could be written (and has been) about the reasons factory farms and agribusinesses can produce food that costs so little. However, the simple answer, as Coleman pointed out, includes physical scale, illegal immigrant laborers, polluting farm practices and government subsidies.

At the same time, the idea that only the well-off can eat fresh, locally grown eats ignores the obvious and inexpensive solution of growing your own garden. You can’t get any more local than food grown steps from your kitchen. And with seeds that sell for pennies apiece and with compost an essentially free fertilizer that anyone can make from table scraps and dried leaves, it becomes clear that price alone is not the true issue.

I’d argue that the real barrier is psychological. Part of this can be traced to the American obsession with animal protein.

Meat, dairy and eggs are all expensive ways to include protein in our diets, and these ubiquitous staples of our national cuisine can be produced cheaply (think a dozen eggs for $1.69 at the grocery stores versus $4.50 at the farmers’ markets) Keep reading→

We’ve Been Going “Back To The Land” For A Long Time

In Around the web, Garden Farm Skills on August 27, 2009 at 7:03 am

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

August 27, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Here are some quotes you expect to see regularly in the media these days.

“Today, from press and pulpit, from publicists and legislators, comes the cry, ‘Back To the Land’! The problem of the “small farm” is becoming a very interesting one. The cry is ‘Back To the Land’ but the drift is away from the land.”

“The question of the big farm versus the small farm is very hotly debated… Good farming must perish with the breaking up of large farms, contends one side. Not so, replies the other side.”

“Two classes of people enthusiastically advocate the ‘Back To The Land’ movement… editors of our city papers and the high-cost-of-living sufferers… The metropolitan editors usually say: ‘Be independent. Be good citizens. And by quitting the city for the farm, you will become both.”

But those quotes appeared in print in 1921. Almost a century ago. The writer was James Boyle, his book, Agricultural Economics. At that time, the first big wave of gigantic farming in the United States, called bonanza farming, was breaking up on the shoals of economic reality. Some of those farms were over 10,000 acres in size, powered by cheap hired help and hundreds of teams of horses. There was a great hue and cry both for and against them. If the reader replaces the word ‘bonanza’ with ‘big’,  many of Boyle’s quotes read exactly like quotes today.

“Mr. Budge says there are several bonanza farms in North Dakota and mentions one of above seven thousand acres. He adds that he would like to see them all out of the way. They take up so much space that it hurts the school districts. The owners ship in supplies from the East. They ship their men in and out too.” Keep reading at OrganicToBe

Take Action! Yo-Ka-Yo Cooperative Gardens Now Organizing

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around Mendo Island, Guest Posts on August 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Mendocino County

August 27, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

This is to let you know that John Johns, one of the farmers at Ukiah’s Saturday Farmer’s Market, has been collecting names and contact info for local folks interested in a cooperative of backyard gardeners/farmers.

I’ve volunteered to spend some time on the tech stuff, setting up a way for those who signed his list plus other interested people to start conversing about what they’d like this project to be and do. We’ve set up a yahoo group (functions, just like the mendocommunity bulletin board and the mendobirds list, as an email group) at as a way to share questions and input.

What we have as a starting point is:

Where are the Yo-Ka-Yo Cooperative Gardens? They could be in your backyard, or maybe your neighbors…

If you look around the Ukiah area, there are a lot of trees producing fruit that is falling on the ground, perfectly good food going to waste. Many family gardeners are finding they either have more vegetables than they need or don’t have the time to maintain everything as they’d like. Meanwhile, there is a growing demand for quality local food.

Yo-Ka-Yo Cooperative Gardens is being established as a cooperative membership organization for “backyard” gardeners and farmers in the Ukiah Valley. Our goals are:

1. Establish a networking and mutual support network for members that will include gardening advice, seed trading, bartering of goods and services.

2. Establish a distribution conduit for excess produce, which may include donations to local non-profits and/or sales to the public.

“But, Mom? Where would the monster get its water?” “It would TAKE it from US, dear.”

In !ACTION CENTER!, Vote No on Measure A on August 26, 2009 at 5:37 am

(with emphasis added)

August 26, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California


[This report clearly shows us that the DDR Measure A plan is asking you to vote against your neighbors and possibly yourself if you need water. The DDR plan is also inaccurate and clearly states that the plan is to bypass any laws or careful thinking about how much water is needed or will be used. This is not about politics, it is about resources and there is not enough water. For the complete report go to -ML]

The proposed project will not be subject to the level of review required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) because it is being proposed by initiative.  Therefore, a groundwater analysis is not required to occur and thus any potential impacts to the groundwater will not be fully investigated and reviewed by the County prior to approval of the project.

Water and Millview County Water District (MCWD)

The Ukiah Valley is presently overbuilt to its available water resources. Any new growth will severely impact our existing circumstances. Even in non-drought years we have a water availability problem and are barely able to provide water services to existing development. Drought years therefore cause the requirement of extreme measures such as reduction by 50 percent or more of water consumption. Consider the following: Every time we increase development, we decrease our ability to survive a drought.

Keep reading→

Take Action! Sing-Along To DDR Monster Mall Promoters Tonight Wednesday 8/26/09 Redwood Valley (Updated)

In !ACTION CENTER!, Vote No on Measure A on August 25, 2009 at 7:30 am

Mendocino County

August 25, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

The Bronnettes singing group strikes AGAIN and all others that would like to participate, are welcome to copy the words below, which (loosely) goes to the Ernie Ford song Sixteen Tons.

DDR is planning a Community Town Hall meeting tonight, 6:15 ish or 6:30 is when we plan to sing.

The place….Redwood Valley Grange, 8650 East Road, near the Fire Station I’m told. Please feel free to make as many copies as you want… pass them around… an unofficial “No on A anthem”? Come sing with us, bring friends, we’ll have a few copies there to pass around too I believe. By the way, I find that snapping my fingers keeps a steady beat through out this piece plus I believe there will be guitar to keep us all “mostly together”.

Vote No on A Anthem
[Original lyrics here.]

some… people say a town is made out of shops,
but a good town has a lotta mom and pops,
mom and pops – not yer great big box -
the money stays here on our own sidewalks

with a DDR mall, what do you get -
another credit card and deeper in debt.
if there’s enuff water for a great big mall
you can be sure that they’ll take it all.

DDR’s too broke to develop what it owns,
that’s why they want us to pass a re-zone,
they can turn around and sell it to a bigger guy,
and no one knows if the project will fly.

now… other comp’nys work with the peoples plan,
but these carpetbaggers do whatever they can,
we’ll be stuck with it even if it ain’t right,
as we stop on State at the seventh stop light Keep singing→

The Practicality of Morals – Wendell Berry

In Books on August 25, 2009 at 7:09 am

A Continuous Harmony (1972)

August 25, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

…there is only one value: the life and health of the world. If there is only one value, it follows that conflicts of value are illusory, based upon perceptual error. Moral, practical, spiritual, esthetic, economic, and ecological values are all concerned ultimately with the same question of life and health. To the virtuous man, for example, practical and spiritual values are identical; it is only corruption that can see a difference. Esthetic value is always associated with sound values of other kinds. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” Keats said, and I think we may take him at his word. Or to say the same thing in a different way: beauty is wholeness; it is health in the ecological sense of amplitude and balance. And ecology is long-term economics. If these identities are not apparent immediately, they are apparent in time. Time is the merciless, infallible critic of the specialized disciplines. In the ledgers that justify waste the ink is turning red.

Moral value, as should be obvious, is not separable from other values. An adequate morality would be ecologically sound; it would be esthetically pleasing. But the point I want to stress here is that it wold be practical. Morality is long-term practicality.

Of all specialists the moralists are the worst, and the processes of disintegration and specialization that have characterized us for generations have made moralists of us all. We have obscured and weakened morality, first, by advocating it for its own sake—that is, by deifying it, as esthetes have deified art—and then, as our capacity for reverence has diminished, by allowing it to become merely decorative, a matter of etiquette.

What we have forgotten is the origin of morality in fact and circumstance; we have forgotten that the nature of morality is essentially practical. Keep reading→

A Low Impact Woodland Home

In Around the web on August 24, 2009 at 9:48 pm

From Simon Dale

August 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

You are looking at pictures of a house I built for our family in Wales. It was built by myself and my father in law with help from passers by and visiting friends. 4 months after starting we were moved in and cosy. I estimate 1000-1500 man hours and £3000 put in to this point. Not really so much in house buying terms (roughly £60/sq m excluding labour).

The house was built with maximum regard for the environment and by reciprocation gives us a unique opportunity to live close to nature. Being your own (have a go) architect is a lot of fun and allows you to create and enjoy something which is part of yourself and the land rather than, at worst, a mass produced box designed for maximum profit and convenience of the construction industry. Building from natural materials does away with producers profits and the cocktail of carcinogenic poisons that fill most modern buildings.

Keep reading here

Report From Eureka: Bayshore Monster Mall

In Vote No on Measure A on August 24, 2009 at 6:00 am

Mendocino County

August 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

Driving to Oregon and wanting to break up our trip, Bill and I stopped at Eureka’s Bayshore Mall.  I wanted to see how the economic downturn was affecting the mall.  Maybe there were some lessons for Mendocino County voters as Election Day approaches for Measure A.

We were surprised to see the parking lot practically full.  Maybe things weren’t so bad after all.

The mystery deepened once we entered the mall because it was practically empty on a Thursday afternoon.

What about all those cars in the parking lot?  We did not solve the mystery, but we did take a few pictures before a very imposing guard informed me that taking pictures was prohibited.  Why? I asked.  Because, he said, there were concerns about trademark infringement, what with all those logos (of extinct businesses?) and store names right out there for anyone to copy.

Keep reading→

What It Means To Buy Local – Letter To The Editors

In !ACTION CENTER!, Dave Smith, Vote No on Measure A on August 24, 2009 at 5:50 am


August 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

To The Editors:

Over the past 50 years, the expansion of national businesses into local domestic markets with Big Box Stores, Chain Stores, Franchises and Monster Malls has diverted and redirected local circulating money to centralized corporate coffers. There it is spent on large capital outlays, national advertising, overseas goods, executive salaries, loan repayments, and dividends to Wall Street investors.

This interception of funds has depleted local towns and cities across our nation of an important source of funds: recirculated income.

To draw attention to this problem and save their small, locally-owned businesses, towns and cities have instituted Buy Local campaigns. They have been somewhat successful, so the giant international corporations are using big buck propaganda campaigns to claim they are “local” businesses.

One of the world’s largest international banks is now claiming to be “The World’s Local Bank” and Lay’s Potato Chips is seizing on citizen’s desire for locally-grown food with a “Lay’s Local” advertising campaign.

And, sure enough, the Masonite Monster Mall folks are also claiming that passing Measure A will be supporting Buy Local. Ha! Because they say it does not make it so! The Monster Mall can mail a million pamphlets, and make a million local phone calls, but the Masonite Monster Mall with Measure A is the antithesis of buying local and will sweep up even more of our money and send it elsewhere.

Buying groceries at Ukiah Natural Foods Cooperative, locally-owned by its members, is buying local. Keep reading→

A little daft?

In Around Mendo Island on August 24, 2009 at 4:48 am


August 24, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mandocino, North California

The word was out. It would be better to not have a green lawn.

Thirsty home landscaping, particularly lawns, will suck up an increasingly burdensome amount of water in California over the next 25 years unless big changes are made, according to a new report by the Public Policy Institute of California. “Do the math,” said study co-author Ellen Hanak, Landscaping currently accounts for at least half of all residential water demand, according to the report.

Even at the state level, Victoria Whitney, a deputy director of the state Water Resources Control Board, justified the staff proposal to ban irrigating commercial turf, a statewide issue that the water board has had on its radar as a way to save water. “A third of urban water use is irrigation,” Whitney said. “Given the issues that they face, it seemed now was the time to point out to folks this is an easy fix.”

So this drought is the real deal and the City of Ukiah orders mandatory water rationing.

As I was driving around looking at ways to redesign my own grassy yard and saw all the many civic minded people not watering, redoing the landscaping if there was enough money, I thought: “Good Citizens”.  Refreshing, so to speak.

But maybe not to Ukiah residents who did their good deed and now face an increase in water bill rates, because they stopped using so much water causing a 35% drop in water use revenue. Just like they were advised to do by the City of Ukiah. It surely seems ironic or maybe even daft to punish the people doing the right thing. I hope to soon read in the Ukiah Daily Journal or Anderson Valley Advertiser that “We wouldn’t think of raising the rates for water use, at least for people that have cut their water use.”

It would make a lot more sense for Ukiah and the County to arrange low cost loans for those wishing to landscape with native plants, providing jobs and real revenue.

Our House Frog Liked Beethoven

In Around the web on August 21, 2009 at 7:40 am

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

August 21, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Living close to nature, I learned long ago there were mysteries as yet unexplained by science or even by the art of farming. Or maybe I just don’t read the right books. Anyway one of those things that science calls a phenomenon occurred again this morning. We have witnessed this occurrence so many times that it can’t be happenstance. When the hummingbirds run out of sugar water in their feeder right outside our kitchen, one of them flies up to the window and gently bumps it. Doesn’t run into it as if by accident, but hovers right at the pane and deliberately bumps it. The hummer seems to be saying: “The feeder is empty, you dolts. Get with it.” And they never bump the window unless the feeder is empty. They know. How do they know?

But a stranger mystery occurred last winter when a frog got into our house. It happened this way. We have a Christmas cactus that as far as we can figure is at least a hundred years old. My grandmother owned it and cussed it. Then one of my aunts owned it and cussed it. Somehow we inherited it. And cuss it. The pot it grows in is almost as big as a bushel basket and that’s why we cuss. Plant plus pot equals at least eighty pounds. All of us being inveterate farmers and gardeners, none of us have had the steel courage to get rid of it. We have tried starving it to death to no avail. It will not die. We time its movements into the house as winter approaches and back out as summer arrives when our son and son-in-law are visiting. Now they cuss it too.

Anyway, the frog evidently burrowed into the the Christmas cactus pot one summer and was still in it when we brought the plant inside. We never did see it— it being a tiny, tan creature that takes up very little space— but its song came loud and clear from the depths of cacti leaves and roots.

Keep reading at our food and farm blog OrganicToBe

Local Currency Directory U.S.

In Around the web on August 21, 2009 at 7:24 am

From E. F. Schumacher Society

August 21, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North Californa


Humboldt Exchange
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
P.O. Box 858
Eureka, CA 95502
First issue:
January 2003
“Humboldt Community Currency” is a paper local currency in Eureka. Individual participants agree to accept half payment for their goods and services in a local currency made just for Humboldt. Many local businesses also accept Community Currency.
67 businesses.
Information updated March 26, 2009


BerkShares, Inc.
Asa Hardcastle, President of board
Susan Witt, Administrator
P.O. Box 125
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 528-1737
First issue:
September 29, 2006
BerkShares are a paper currency printed in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 and are traded in the southern Berkshire region of Massachusetts. They are distributed by local banks and are backed by federal dollars. They are purchased at $0.95 per BerkShare from the bank, spent at a value of $1 per BerkShare with participating individuals or businesses, and traded back for federal currency at $0.95 per BerkShare, providing a financial incentive for both individuals to get and spend them in the first place and for someone who has recieved BerkShares in a transaction to spend them again rather than return them for federal currency.

Keep reading at the E. F. Schumacher Society

Letters to the Editor: Another better idea for the Masonite property

In !ACTION CENTER! on August 21, 2009 at 7:12 am


August 21, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Ukiah Daily Journal
To The Editor:

I have heard many ideas for the use of the old Masonite property and have given it much thought myself. I know many think it’s perfect for a shopping mall, but I disagree.

A mall uses a great deal of natural resources, only supplies minimum wage employment that cannot support a single person let alone a family, and encloses an area for crime and loitering.

I propose that we look into a retirement facility that addresses aging “baby boomers.” Mendocino County does not have enough graduated health facilities and the need for such is an important and necessary reality. Plus, the employment in this avenue offers wages that can support a family. More fast food and fast shopping is not what we need.

Let’s take another look at our future in Mendocino County and do the right thing by allowing those who have lived here, worked here, and paid taxes here have the opportunity to stay here in their hometown. Mendocino County is growing and we need to choose a responsible and profitable way to utilize the property.

Supervisors, give another thought about the realities of our future here and look beyond the same run down decisions. There is so much more to quality of life beyond immediate gratification.
Thanks to Steve Scalmanini

An Interview with Gene Logsdon

In Books, Garden Farm Skills on August 20, 2009 at 7:46 am

From A Nation of Farmers (2009)
by Sharon Astyk & Aaron Newton

August 20, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Along with [his good friend] Wendell Berry, Gene Logsdon has been a central leader of the American agrarian movement for decades. He is the author of many books, both practical and philosophical, and it is impossible to read any of his writing without being overcome with the desire to grow food.

Spring 2008

ANOF: Given the rising cost of fossil fuels because of their declining availability, the climate change associated with using those fossil fuels, the problems of soil erosion and water degradation and all the other problems with the way we grow food and eat it at this point in history, what do you think is the biggest challenge facing the American agriculture? And how can we address it?
Gene: The biggest problem in my opinion is that our society, our culture, does not understand that food is everyone’s business. We have decided, as a society, to let a few people worry about our food while the rest of us worry about money. And so food production has more or less become the domain of a few very large international corporations. The only cure for it is what is now happening. Food prices and food shortages and fuel shortages will force people to take back their lives. There’s an old saying that goes “People won’t do the right thing until they have no other choice.” I’m afraid that is true for the majority.

ANOF: Do you think it makes sense to grow food in the suburbs — in former farmland turned neighborhood? And do you have any suggestions for people interested in this sort of suburban homesteading?
Gene: Yes, this kind of “homesteading” is possible and admirable, and if you watch what is happening as food prices climb, it is taking place more and more. Keep reading→

The Great Work of Making Meaning

In Books, Dave Smith on August 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm


August 18, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Excerpt from The Elegance of the Hedgehog
(Author Muriel Barbery’s eagerly awaited follow-up, Gourmet Rhapsody, due in stores next week)

I open the door.

Monsieur Ozu is standing there.

“Dear lady,” he says, “I am glad that you were not displeased with my little gift.”

In shock, I cannot understand a word.

“Yes, I was,” I reply, aware that I am sweating like an ox. “Uh, uh, no.” I am pathetically slow to correct my stumbling reply. “Well, thank you, thank you very much indeed.”

He gives me a kindly smile.

“Madame Michel, I haven’t come here so that you can thank me.”

“No?” I say, adding my own brilliant rendition of “let your words die upon your lips,” the art of which I share with Phaedra, Bérénice, and poor Dido.

“I have come to ask you to have dinner with me tomorrow evening,” he says. “That way we shall have the opportunity to talk about our shared interests.”

“Euh…” A relatively brief reply.

“A neighborly dinner, a very simple affair.”

“Between neighbors? But I’m the concierge,” I plead, although whatever may be inside my head is in a state of utter confusion.

“It is possible to be both at once,” he replies.

Holy Mary Mother of God, what am I to do? Keep reading→

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (Part 2)

In Around the web on August 18, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Mendocino County

Parts |1|2|3|

August 18, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Soon after it was published in the early seventies, I grabbed Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals off the shelf. Every few years since, I’ve reread it and continue to find jewels. Alinsky was firm that if we are to succeed in community organizing, we must be cognizant of history, have a sense that our actions fit into a larger context, that we aren’t alone. As you have seen in Part 1, we are not the first who have confronted these problems, though ours have become more threatening in very broad Earth-wide terms. Allow me to take you back further.

Not long ago the great majority of Americans lived on farms or in small villages supporting those farmers. Almost all of them had personal gardens and fruit trees and raised chickens. Even within the villages, not a few owned a few goats and the yearly pig. I recall it well when the first “supermarket” came to my home town in the fifties. My farmer parents never raised another garden except for a couple of tomatoes. Instead, they concentrated on modernizing their farming methods beginning with buying expensive equipment, which required Mom to work in town, as Dad did as well in the winter repairing tractors. My ancestors’ sustainable family farms became shrouded in tales recounted at increasingly rare family gatherings. Because of soaring farming costs, children scattered and the old mutually supportive extended families withered.

So, I’m a romantic. In my first decade, I lived on the place that my great, great grandparents (one set) had settled. My great, great grandfather was an expert carpenter, likely apprenticed as a fishing boat builder on the Isle of Jersey and the Gaspè Peninsula. He had also learned blacksmithing from his father. Though the farm was wasting away in my time, Keep reading→

Take Action! on Navy War Games: Marine Mammals and Other Sea Life to be Decimated by the Millions from Sea to Shining Sea

In !ACTION CENTER! on August 18, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Redwood Valley

August 18, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Update on June 5th Report: 5-Year U.S. Navy Warfare Testing Programs Located in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf of Mexico

The United States Navy will be decimating millions of marine mammals and other aquatic life, each year, for the next five years, under their Warfare Testing Range Complex Expansions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS under NOAA), has already approved the “taking” of marine mammals in more than a dozen Navy Range Warfare Testing Complexes (6), and is preparing to issue another permit for 11.7 millions marine mammals (32 Separate Species), to be decimated along the Northern, California, Oregon and Washington areas of the Pacific Ocean (7).

U.S. Department of Commerce – NOAA (NMFS) Definition: “TAKE” Defined under the MMPA as “harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect.” Defined under the ESA as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” Definition: Incidental Taking: An unintentional, but not unexpected taking (12).

The total number of marine mammals that will be decimated in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico for the next five years is unknown. The NMFS approvals will have a devastating impact upon the marine mammal populations worldwide and this last Navy permit, which is expected to be issued in February 2010, for the “taking” of more than 11.7 million marine mammals in the Pacific will be the final nail in the coffin for any healthy populations of sea life to survive.

Keep reading→

Rural Matters

In Around Mendo Island on August 17, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Redwood Valley

August 18, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

From “The New Crucible of Innovation”, a presentation by Brian Dabson/RUPRI to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in April, 2009

This is an extraordinary time for rural America to make new contributions to national prosperity in four main areas:

  • § Growing and processing food – quantity, quality, and sustainability
  • § Energy independence – extractive and renewable
  • § Realizing economic value of nature’s services – stewardship
  • § Protecting and managing rural experiences – natural, cultural

And the three powerful strategies:

  • § Regionalism – cooperation and collaboration across jurisdictions, sectors
  • § Assets – building on unique strengths, triple bottom line
  • § Entrepreneurship – conversion of assets into economic opportunity

Editorial Comment: The ideas expressed above read like economic developments in Mendocino County during recent decades.  An example of each in order:

  • § Farmer’s Markets throughout the county are supplied largely by local small farms and ranches and the diversity of products is growing
  • § Feasibility studies are being conducted to assess the potential for biomass and pellet manufacturing
  • § If initiated these technologies will contribute to fire safety and forest stewardship
  • Keep reading→

Announcing – Mendo Moola Circulating Now

In Dave Smith on August 17, 2009 at 6:51 am


August 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

The more money is used locally and kept circulating locally, the more jobs are created and the wealthier a local community becomes (see Why NOT To Shop In Santa Rosa below).

Mendo Moola is smart money… a local currency, issued by locally-owned merchants and circulated only within Mendocino County. It is accepted in payment by participating, locally-owned merchants. The first merchant to issue its own currency is Mulligan Books in downtown Ukiah using wooden coins as change for purchases, and as “gift certificates”.

By using Mendo Moola in trade – face-to-face, hand-to-hand – money does not leave our community as it does using Federal Reserve Notes and Credit/Debit Cards.

Communities across the country and around the world issue local currencies to protect themselves against “tight money” and “credit crunches” that kill jobs and local economies. See Mendo Moola website for more info and a growing list of local businesses and services accepting it.

Mendo Moola Proposed Rules:

1. Mendo Moola (MM) as a Local Currency can initially be issued by any merchant, in branded wood coins or paper, with a store front that stocks inventory. It is then backed by the full faith and credit of that particular merchant’s inventory and cash flow, and by the health of the community’s local trade. (Eventually, any business or service could issue its own currency.)
2. MM will always be redeemed for cash by the issuing merchant upon request by either customers or other merchants, although using MM to purchase products is preferred.
3. MM will only be issued into circulation as change, direct exchange for cash (not sold as a taxable product), or as “gift certificates”.
4. MM will not be issued into circulation by being “spent” by the issuing merchant for products or services, i.e. merchants will not use their own issued currency from storage to purchase products themselves. Keep reading→

Letter to the Editors: Monster Mall Measure A Creates Environmental Nightmares

In Dave Smith on August 17, 2009 at 6:41 am


To the Editors:

August 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino County, North California

It is obvious why DDR’s Measure A eliminates the requirement for the California Environmental Review Act (CEQA) that is usually an automatic requirement for a project this size.  Big Box retail parking lots rank among the most harmful land uses in any watershed. During rain storms, parking lots deliver a hefty dose of toxic pollutants leaked by vehicles or deposited from the atmosphere — including phosphorous, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, herbicides and pesticides — into our nearby water bodies.

While a 200,000 square-foot mall covers 4 acres and consumes another 12 for parking, the same amount of retail spread over two floors in a Main Street-style setting with shared parking takes up only 4 acres. The Masonite Monster Mall is four times  that size (800,000 square feet). In some cases, permits for big-box projects have been denied on the grounds that they would add additional pollution to a nearby river. DDR has eliminated that possibility and denied the democratic control of our own environment with Measure A.

Instead of creating more disastrous car-dependent sprawl, the solution is to revitalize what is already here — our own walkable, bikeable downtown business district. Compact downtowns that have multi-story buildings, multi-story parking, and support a mix of uses, take up far less land and create far less polluting runoff.

Measure A is an attempt by slickster outside corporations to colonize our valley and override our zoning requirements with big bucks and pretty pictures… while insisting that, somehow, their Monster Mall, full of boring Big Boxes, Corporate Chains, and Industrial Food Restaurants, just like everywhere else, will be “shopping local”. Ha! What a bad joke! Keep reading→

A Realistic Plan and Time Line for Your Survival Homestead

In Around the web on August 16, 2009 at 6:56 pm

From The Oil Drum

August 17, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

[For all you remaining Back-To-The-Landers here in Mendo, it may be interesting to compare what you did back in the sixties and seventies to what you might do now. I am not a survivalist, nor do I think the survivalist family going it alone makes any sense. If things do go bad, it will be collaboration and cooperation, in the city and in the country,  at the homestead and in the town house, that will get us through. -DS]

This plan assumes that you will be starting with raw land with no improvements. The advantage is that you can tailor things specifically to your needs while allowing time for your skills to develop. Yes, you could buy an old farm. However, I believe that old farms will ultimately cost you more and require significantly more time to rehabilitate than starting from scratch. Further, trying to fix up old stuff is more difficult than new construction. Things are rotted, out of square, foundations and roofs are shot or lack insulation.

The plan also assumes that all property is owned by a single family and that the work will be done by that family (a husband and wife or partner). I know a lot of people believe that a sharing/commune-type structure is the way to go. However, a community timeframe will be little different from that of a family and my experience is that most communities eventually fail.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons since moving to the country over 30 years ago. I should add that I also lived in a rural area until I was 12. However, I sure as hell don’t know everything and some of my suggestions are guesstimates. For example, I grew up around my neighbor’s draft horses but I’m not a teamster. There are thousands of others out there who live far more self-sufficiently (self-reliantly) than my wife and I. But, I’ve also had the opportunity to observe the successes and failures of other people. Keep reading at The Oil Drum


Denmark: A Modern Beacon – Thom Hartmann

In Around the web, Books, Dave Smith on August 13, 2009 at 9:22 pm

From Thom Hartmann

August 13, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Excerpted from Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture

Our best hope, both of a tolerable political harmony and of an inner peace, rests upon our ability to observe the limits of human freedom even while we responsibly exploit its creative possibilities. ~Reinhold Niebuhr, The Structure of Nations and Empires (1959)

If it’s happening in Danish politics (or, for that matter, Scandinavian or European politics), Peter Mogensen knows about it. An economist by training, he’s the chief political editor of Denmark’s second largest national newspaper, Politiken, and for four years (1997-2000) he was the right-hand man (“head of office” and “political advisor”) to Denmark’s then prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. A handsome man of young middle years, he also plays in a “Bruce Springsteen look-alike” rock band, and cuts a wide swath through Danish popular society.

So it was particularly interesting to see this normally unflappable man with a slightly confused look on his face.

We were in the studios of Danish Radio (their equivalent of BBC or NPR) in downtown Copenhagen, where I was broadcasting the week of June 23-27, 2008, and I’d just asked Mogensen how many Danes experience financial distress, lose their homes, or even declare bankruptcy because of a major illness in the family.

“Why, of course …” he blinked a few times, “none.”

I explained how every year in the United States millions of families lose their jobs and their homes, Keep reading→

My Clunker Pickup Is Too Old To Junk

In Guest Posts on August 13, 2009 at 7:20 am

Garden Farm Skills

August 13, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Of all my old, junk machinery, I like my pickup truck the best. I could not function without it. I use it to haul hay, straw, manure, mulch, lambs, rams, calves, pigs, chickens, corn, wheat, grandkids, apples, firewood, logs, cans of gas, rototillers, dirt, lawnmowers, water tanks, fencing, gates, posts, lumber, chainsaws, shovels, forks, concrete blocks, trash for the recycler, gravel, rocks, railroad ties. To name a few. In the process, I also use it to back into trees, sideswipe gate posts, run into stumps, drop a front end loader on (insurance paid for one new side of the truck bed), and take incoming stones on the windshield (only one chip out of the glass so far).

I thought I was the wise guy, see. I should have traded the poor old thing in long ago, but I was sure a financial collapse was coming. No society could live as crazily as ours and not suffer retribution. So I decided I would wait until the second Great Depression hit and then I would drive a real hard bargain on a trade-in and get a new truck at a five or even ten thousand dollar savings.

So the collapse finally came. I waited patiently for the car companies to cut prices drastically. Nothing much happened except they moaned and groaned until the government gave them billions of dollars. The price of the pickup that I wanted did not go down one farthing. Oh yeah, a rebate here and there. The old maneuver. Jack up the price several thousand dollars and then give the poor dumb buyer a fifteen hundred dollar rebate and he’s supposed to dance around the showroom in utter bliss.

Keep reading at our sister blog Organic To Be

The Wheels of Justice

In Dave Smith on August 12, 2009 at 5:11 pm


August 13, 2009 Ukiah Valley, Mendocino, North California

Six years ago, with a great amount of noise, federal agents stormed the Coyote Valley Reservation in Redwood Valley.  They arrested then-tribal chair Priscilla Hunter at gunpoint in front of children, charged her with embezzlement, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice, drove her from office, threatened her with imprisonment, and forced her to live under a cloud of criminality.  This week charges were dismissed. (Except for one misdemeanor failure to file one income tax return)

Hunter released this statement about her ordeal:


The family of Priscilla Hunter, want to thank the many good hearted people who submitted support letters on her behalf  requesting the Federal District  Court render a lenient sentence in her sentencing hearing  on Thursday  Aug 6 in the Northern District Federal Court.  Priscilla  pled guilty to one misdemeanor charge of failing to file a tax return, whereas she was charged with misappropriation of tribal casino revenue, obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy and the U.S Attorneys  spent over six years in the investigation and pre-trial litigation of the case.  All of the charges  except the failure to file a tax return charge  were dismissed.

As stated by local press the investigation and charges that were leveled against the former Tribal Council were the first effort of a joint federal and state Task Force established to fight crime in Indian Country and they may have started with a bang but “ended in a whimper”.

Keep reading→


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